Nation will need more than this budget in future
The U.S. House and Senate have actually passed a budget with bipartisan support.
That’s worthy of a shower of confetti in these days of politicized bickering that accomplishes little.
But before the celebration gets out of hand, understand what actually happened and its future implications.
The nation has a $17 trillion-plus national debt and this budget plan is geared to chopping $23 billion off that over a 10-year period. In the accounting business, that’s called a rounding area.
While the budget seems to eliminate the trauma of partial government shutdowns for the next year or so, the spending is a far cry from the kind of substantive, long-term discipline that many conservative representatives and senators wanted to make a real impact on the nation’s budget deficit.
It’s like making the minimum payment on an out-of-control charge card.
But this is the best deal House Republicans, led by budget Chairman Paul Ryan, could make and maintain bipartisan support.
So the agreement forged by Ryan and Democrat Sen. Patty Murray of Washington is a start – but not much more.
The plan doesn’t touch the meat and potatoes of the nation’s indebtedness, out-of-control entitlement spending and too many autopilot, year-to-year spending increases in many of the country’s major programs.
But Republicans couldn’t afford to be demonized again over another government shutdown in a year when control of the House and Senate are at stake. And Ryan knew that.
So those who have brought fear-mongering and outright lying over budget crises in the past couple years won this round. The result is a barely effective, milktoast budget that won’t help the country’s fundamental woes in the long-term.
The losers are the millions of Americans who deserve budget solutions and fundamental reforms that will assure them of a brighter future.
If Republicans have successfully bitten their budget tongues to garner majorities in the House and Senate at the end of 2014, they need to know much more effective budget engineering will be expected if they accomplish their election goal.